Tuesday, March 23, 2010

One Scheduled Caste person was inhumanly tortured by BSF, police inaction, denial of livelihood

West Bengal, India

Case Details:

Name of the Victim:- Mr. Biredra Nath Mondal, son of Late Kushai Mondal, Male – 56 Years, Religion – Hindu, Scheduled Caste of Village – Char Rajanagar, Post Office – Char Rajapur, Police Station – Raninagar, District – Murshidabad, West Bengal, India.

Name of the Perpetrators:- (1) One Border Security Force (BSF) constable, (2) One Sub-Inspector of BSF, both of Char Mairashi BSF Border Out Post (BOP) Camp under Battalion No. -191 ‘E’ Company; (3) Company Commander of Rajanagar BSF Company Headquarter (HQ) under 191 BSF Battalion ‘F’ Company; (4) Sub-Inspector Mohanganj BSF BOP under Kaharpara Company HQ (5) Company Commander of Kaharpara BSF Company Headquarter under 191 Battalion BSF; (6) Officer-in Charge of Raninagar police station, District – Murshidabad, West Bengal.

Place of Incident:- Char Moirashi BSF BOP camp at Char Nabipur Mouja under jurisdiction of Raninagar Police Station, District – Murshidabad, West Bengal, India.

Date of Incident:- 01 March 2010, at 12 Noon

Detail of Incident:-

The victim and his family consisting of nine other members are one among the thousands of sufferers of erosion of Padma river. They have lost their agricultural land, the traditional source of their livelihood. Till date they are denied all entitlements under Below Poverty Line (BPL) Scheme, Antodaya Annapurna Scheme and other related prerogatives deserved by such poor people. While two of his sons are working as migrated workers in different states, Mr. Birendra Nath Mondal, though an old and sickly person, worked as a casual agrarian labour to meet the end. At this juncture, torturous act by Border Security Force (BSF) personnel and subsequent police inaction inflicts severe blow to his existing misery.

It was on 19/02/2010 at around 12 AM, as Mr. Birendra Nath was carrying out surveillance over the agricultural field of Katlamari Mauja, he witnessed 15-20 people trespassed from Khidirpur village under Rajshahi district of Bangladesh in the same field with at least 70 cattle. The victim narrates, “As I protested their entry so as to protect the crops, those trespassers attacked me. In order to save me as well as crops, I immediately contacted nearest BSF camp and appealed for assistance. However, BSF personnel remained indifferent to my complaint. Consequently, with assistance from some fellow farmers I could stop the nuisance and seized those cattle in order to hand over to the BSF/Police. In the mean time, two BSF personnel of No. 4 outpost under BSF Company Headquarter, Company Commander Mr. Bijay Kumar Chaudhury along with some other BSF personnel who came in a Maruti car took those seized cattle to their custody. Surprisingly, without taking any action against those Bangladeshi nationals, they handed over all those cattle to them in return of some bribe. We are quite frustrated by this kind of regular corrupt practice by BSF personnel.”

Torture by BSF personnel on innocent villagers is quite prevalent in this area. Being very upset over the abovementioned incident, the victim and other fellow villagers approached Raninagar police station on 19-02-2010 with a definite complaint. As they were turned down by Raninagar police station officials without registering any complaint against BSF personnel, they took forward their complaint to the Superintendent of Police, Murshidabad district on 20-02-2010.

In the mean time, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM) scheduled a village level awareness meeting against BSF atrocities on 25-02-2010. The victim was instrumental in organising and publicity of the programme. The victim had to face BSF ordeal in return. He recounts, “On 01-03-2010 at around 12 AM one BSF jawan called me up to the Char Moirashi BSF camp to discuss ‘problems related to Indo-Bangladesh border’ and also informed that other members and head of the Panchayat (pradhan) were also present in the camp. As I reached there, I found some fellow villagers but neither any member nor the head (pradhan) of Panchayat was present there. Mr. Bijay Kumar Chaudhury, the Camp Commander and another Camp Commander of Kaharpara BSF BOP Company Headquarter were present among other BSF personnel. The Company Commander wanted to see my voter identity card and I obliged. But, after checking the card, he never returned it. Rather they scornfully asked me, “Oh, so you want to become a leader?” Immediately after that they pulled me into their vehicle and started to whack me left and right and continuously abused using most filthy words. As I started bleeding, I pleaded to stop the beating. Subsequently, they tied my gamchha (indigenous towel) around my mouth and continued thrashing. I almost fell unconscious to their merciless torture. But they did not care a damn about my deteriorating condition. Continuing the torture they took me first to Mohanganj BSF camp and then to Kaharpara BSF camp on a BSF vehicle and detained me at the latter place. The Camp Commander of that camp arrived at around 5 PM and forcibly took my signature in two blank pages. At last, after detaining me for almost eight hours, they released me at around 8 PM issuing a threat to kill in border area by implicating in false case. Even while releasing they kicked me all over the body quite a few times. As I went to the Raninagar Police Station on next morning (i.e. on 02-03-2010) to lodge a complaint against the torturous BSF personnel, they refused to oblige.” It is to be noted that neither the police officials started a case nor made even an informational entry in their General Diary Entry book. Subsequently, the victim had sent a written complaint to the Superintendent of Police, Murshidabad district on 04-03-2010. However, any criminal case against the perpetrators is yet to set out.

The victim suffered severe injuries on different parts of his body (lips, shoulder, arms, knee, legs and feet). There happens to be no Primary Health Centre around that place and he could not obtain any medical treatment from private medical centres due to his utter poverty. It is only on our intervention that he could be taken to Behrampur New General Hospital on 04-03-2010 and as per advice of the attending doctors he remained admitted as indoor patient and was treated there from that day to 11th Feb 2010. As even in the hospital there was not enough provision of medicine, we had arranged medicine as per the prescription of Hospital’s doctor. However, the treatment at the hospital was too little to the blows he suffered. As on date, his hearing ability of left ear remains damaged. He is still suffering from multiple traumatic disorders which has terribly affected his daily living. He is yet to recover completely to get back to his daily work. Consequently, the poor family is facing more economic hardship than ever before. The old man is ravaged by the sheer humiliation and barbaric torture in addition to inaction of police force.

Later, on 12-03-2010, as our activist contacted the Officer-in-Charge of Raninagar Police Station Mr. Maskur Rahman and enquired about the above mentioned incidence, he said, “I do not know anything about the incidence.” On enquiring further he retorted, “You have no right to disturb me asking this kind of question.” When our activist contacted the said police station again after few hours, a Home Guard attended the call and informed that no other official was present at the police station. On another attempt the same Home Guard told that though Sub-Inspector Bibhas Mondal was present in the police station, he was too busy to attend the call.

It is quite evident that instead of protecting the Indian National, BSF personnel’s torturous act emerges to be a surmounting threat to poor villagers. In addition to that, the police inaction comes as a jolt to the victim’s faith in justice.

Report By:
Kirity Roy

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